All things pumpkin are appearing on Tucson menus, from pumpkin-spiced hot drinks to ubiquitous pumpkin pie and the not-so-ordinary pumpkin tamales.
Check out Caliente on Thursday for the best bets on pumpkin. Meanwhile, here's a sampling of restaurants making good use of the fall squash.
• 3001 E. Skyline Drive, 232-0101.
Chef Albert Hall says he’ll start serving pumpkin-pecan cake ($6.50) and pumpkin bread pudding ($6.50) in November.
• 4445 E. Broadway, 468-2447.
The new addition in the Broadway-Swan culinary corridor has pumpkin spice lattes, homemade pumpkin cheesecake ($7.75), pumpkin spice cannoli ($6), Hofbräu beer from Germany ($4.75 a bottle) and pumpkin pie Italian sodas, says Chef Lorenzo D’Auria. The Hofbräu is available though Dec. 1 and the pumpkin cheesecake until the end of December.
• 135 S. Sixth Ave., 623-7700.
Rather than pumpkin, the restaurant will be using Tohono O’odham squash because it’s seasonal, heirloom and local, says owner-chef Janos Wilder. He started serving the Game Changer soup ($9 with $1 going to the Bead for Life charity) last week. On Oct. 18, Wilder says, the eatery will start serving orechiette pasta with chèvre, slow-roasted tomatoes, cilantro, Tohono O’odham roasted squash and pepitas with preserved lemons and cilantro pesto ($15). Others items will be added in another couple of weeks, says Wilder.
• 311 N. Court Ave., 622-1922, and four other locations; and Sir Veza’s Taco Garage, 4699 E. Speedway, 323-8226 (323-TACO), and 220 W. Wetmore Road at Tucson Mall, 888-8226 (888-TACO).
The restaurants will be serving pumpkin pecan tamales, handcrafted with pumpkin, pecan meal, crushed pecans, piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar), pineapple, and cinnamon through New Year’s. Chef Carlotta Flores says the tamale is topped with caramelo (carmel) sauce, a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar dust ($4.95 per tamale or $9.82 for six cooked, frozen tamales).
Flores will also be cooking up several dishes with pumpkin, such as: Sopa de crema y calabaza con rajas (pumpkin cream soup with green chili strips); dessert mini chimis with pumpkin agave cream cheese filling and cinnamon sugar dust; pumpkin carmel flan with salted nut topping; pumpkin and queso Mexicano quesadillas (Mexican cheeses with pumpkin) topped with roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and dried cranberry bits; and a pumpkin tamale and a poblano-stuffed mushroom appetizer that is topped with tomatillo green sauce with roasted pumpkin seeds.
For more restaurants dishing up pumpkin, check out Thursday's Caliente.